Defending champion Lowry reflects on ‘best-year-to-date’ ahead of Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

This time last year Shane Lowry arrived at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA without a win in four years but superbly ended that drought in the capital before going on to secure The Open Championship six months later at Royal Portrush in what was the best year of the Irishman’s career.

“I suppose it’s amazing, the difference a year can make,” said Lowry. “Coming into this event last year, I was ranked 74th in the world and I hadn’t been on great form. I had been playing okay the few months previous, but not unbelievable. I didn’t know what 2019 was going to bring. I just tried my best and went out and gave it 100 percent the whole year.

“Very fortunately, it was obviously my best year-to-date. I couldn’t really envisage what happened. It was obviously really nice to get off to an unbelievable start here, winning one of the biggest events on Tour. This course, this tournament, against this field every year is a really, really difficult tournament to win, and it obviously kick-started an unbelievable season.”

Lowry’s sensational wire-to-wire victory last year looked in doubt with just seven holes to play after he found himself four shots behind Richard Sterne despite starting the day with a three-stroke lead. But the 32 year old carded back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 before Sterne dropped shots on 14 and 16, leaving the pair level on 17 under par walking up the 18th before Lowry expertly made the green in two before holing his birdie putt to seal a maiden Rolex Series title.

“I think the way that I won here last year only gave me confidence going forward,” said Lowry. “I led the whole week and then found myself four behind with seven to play, and I showed a lot of character, a lot of determination and a lot of heart that day. Like anybody who plays this game, knows that a lot of it is built on confidence. A lot of form is built on confidence, and that’s what I gained from here last year.”

Since being crown Champion Golfer of the Year, Lowry has been in high demand to participate in tournaments across the globe including last week’s Hong Kong Open in which he finished runner-up. A host of media appearances also comes with being a Major champion and Lowry is happy with how he has handled things since becoming a global star.

“I think I’ve coped quite well,” said Lowry. “In regards to winning here and winning The Open last year, I think I dealt quite well with it. Obviously, there’s a little bit more attention on you, and last week was probably the first week where I’ve gone as one of the star attractions to go and play a golf tournament and I felt like I coped with it very well.

“Towards the back end of last season, I probably tried a little bit too hard in the Race to Dubai and probably forced it a little bit too much and put a bit too much pressure on myself but I don’t have any regrets for the last six, seven months. I feel like I’ve coped with it quite well.”

Lowry gets his title defence underway tomorrow (16th) at 7.40am alongside World No.1 Brooks Koepka and two-time Falcon trophy winner Tommy Fleetwood and the former Dubai Duty Free Irish Open winner is delighted to be teeing it up with some of the world’s biggest stars.

“I’m here this week as defending champion and I’ve got great group tomorrow, Tommy and Brooks,” said Lowry. “It’s exciting to be in those pairings. Look, it’s nice to be playing with those guys and be playing with the top players in the world. It’s where I see I’m at the minute with my game.”

Share this article
What's in the bag
Swing Sequence

Wyndham Clark Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy One of the...

Xander Schauffele swing sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy Xander Schauffele has...

Related articles

1 day ago

Rory McIlroy removed US Open scars at Home of Golf

Rory McIlroy rebounded from his US Open disappointment to make a...

Rayhan Thomas Takes Morocco In His Stride

Rayhan Thomas is making waves at the International Series Morocco after...